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HENRY — Henry boys basketball coach Steve Self tried to relay the message to his team that even in rivalry games, you can’t take an opponent lightly.
His Mallards got the message loud and clear as they dominated the middle quarters of their Tri-County Conference game with Midland to pull out a 60-48 victory Friday.
Henry center Ryan Condit got the Mallards out to an 18-9 lead in the first quarter with the help of a beautiful bounce pass to Nathan Helle and then a strong move to the hoop for a basket of his own.
Then in the second quarter, the Mallards started to get things going at both ends of the court, but the Timberwolves still were within striking distance.
Midland’s Jake Scoon hit a turnaround jumper in the paint to cut the lead to 23-20, but Helle responded with a 3-pointer and then a lob pass from Kyle Henderson. Helle then capped off a 7-0 run with a fast-break layup that helped to send the Mallards into the half with a 31-22 lead.
The Mallards put the game away in the third quarter as they completely dominated on offense, defense and offensive rebounds.
It got started once again with Helle as he was in attack mode going strong to the basket to push the lead to 33-23.
“We talked about being a rivalry game before the game and then at halftime we talked about being aggressive,” Self said. “Nathan really led that charge. Not only himself, but did an outstanding job of finding his teammates and getting them involved as well. There was a stretch where he would have two or three offensive rebounds in a possession and that really seemed to be the back breaker for Midland, especially in the third quarter.”
Helle extended the lead to 12 at 35-23 and then Condit finished off a fast break with a layup.
The Helle-Condit combo continued over the next few possessions with a pair of stick backs for Helle and then a bounce pass from Helle to Condit for the layup.
Jake Schlosser then capped the third quarter with a 3-pointer to make it a 54-30 game heading into the final quarter.
“I really have to give my teammates credit,” Helle said. “They did a great job slashing to the basket when Midland closed on me. Coach also talked about being aggressive and I think it took a little out of Midland when they would play good defense but we would get an offensive rebound and the stick back.”
Midland closed the gap in the fourth when Henry took its starters out with about five minutes left, but the lead was too big to overcome.
Helle led all scorers with 29 points and 14 rebounds for Henry (9-0, 2-0 TCC), while Condit added 12 and Schlosser 10.